Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Not Fast Enough

These first two pictures were taken by LC.
They were part of a series of sunset pictures that he took in back of the house late in the evening only a few days ago.
Fire in the sky......................
I have no idea why, but double rainbows are very common in Wyoming.
LC called me one day late last week to tell me to look outside, because there was a wonderful double rainbow in the sky facing down towards one of the neighbors' houses.
It was still raining outside, so I did not want to walk in the rain without a jacket and truthfully did not feel up to rummaging around in the closet to dig one out.
I had expected to just poke my head out and look to the west and towards the neighbor's home, but when I walked out onto the covered porch this rainbow was clearly visible on BLM land.
These kinds of sights are not common in Tennessee.  Sunshine and rain at the same time.  Light sky on one side of the rainbow and dark sky on the other.  Double rainbows.
It was a beautiful, and very unusual sight.................
On Saturday morning LC and I were downtown.
We turned off the main street on the spur of the moment after seeing a random yard sale sign, and as we drove down the quiet side street looking for undiscovered treasures, unexpectedly saw deer grazing in someones' yard.
A quick inventory told me a healthy looking doe with a surprising three little ones, all still proudly wearing their spots.
LC slowed the truck down, not wanting to scare any of this young family.
As we slowly approached the deer, momma suddenly saw us and ran across the road.................
A minute after momma ran across the road two of the three fawns followed suit, and all three of them proceeded to graze on the grass and eat from the trees of this new home..................
The lone straggler still on our side of the road stopped eating leaves long enough to look across the street at his mom and siblings and I felt certain that he would also make a dash for the street.................
Surprisingly, this hungry little guy decided to eat some more from the tasty bush for another couple of minutes before deciding to join the rest of his family on the other side of the quiet road................
I smiled in satisfaction at this reunited deer family (dear family) and when LC pulled the truck over to the side of the road at the site of the yard sale I walked back a few houses to watch the family again, now all together and now grazing hungrily on a new set of trees and bushes.
They disappeared behind the house before I could take any more pictures of them.................
About an hour later we were on the opposite side of town and we drove down yet one more quiet side street in search of yet one more yard sale.
I dug my camera out of the side pocket of my small pack when I unexpectedly saw this good sized buck happily grazing in another Cody resident's yard.
I took this picture from inside the truck.
I had planned on climbing out of the truck and slowly walking closer to the fence so that I could get a better shot of him, but thought better of it after I realized that he had seen me.  He was already watchful and on alert, and I knew that if I tried to move closer he would bolt.
Instead I snapped this quick picture, and both LC and I watched him, and watched him watching us, for another few minutes before he slowly walked further away from us along the hedgerow..................
We were just about to drive away when I looked in the front yard of the same house and was very surprised to see yet one more buck.
This one had a great rack, but was thin.  Too thin for this time of year.  Too thin compared to what he should have weighed judging from his rack.
He moved and ate as though healthy, but his weight was cause for concern and as I watched him happily eating away wondered why he was in such a physical state....................
One of the many things that I have always enjoyed about Cody is the residents close relationship with the local deer.
It is very common to see deer sitting in the shade of a tree in someone's yard.
To see deer grazing on flowers or bushes or grass in yards.
To see them walking alongside residential roads, down driveways, running from home to home and yard to yard.
Most residents love their presence.  I know that I do.
But some residents get angry because the deer poop in their yards, or eat their flowers or their vegetables or their pretty bushes.
Some simply complain about it, while others build high fences around vegetation that they want to protect from these frequent visitors.
To me and many others though, the presence of deer in town has always been one of Cody's great charms.
The deer have however also become cause for concern recently.  Mountain lions have been sighted twice this summer on the outskirts of town adjacent to the hospital.
And only a couple of weeks ago a black bear was darted and relocated after having been sighted in a tree in a residential neighborhood.
There is speculation that the towns' deer population is drawing these predators into town.
In a small town surrounded by BLM land, mountains and nationals forests it is cause for concern, but the presence of predators is also in truth only one more aspect of and reality of life in the west.......................
In the middle of summer the sun rises somewhere around 5:45am, and usually I am not up to see it.
On a restless and mostly sleepless night one day a couple of weeks ago I walked outside just as the sun was coming up, looked west towards the mountains (as I always do when I first walk outside) and realized that the mountains were a color I had never seen before.
With the sun gradually shining more and more on them as it rose higher into the sky, the mountains took on a wholly unexpected pink color.
I walked back into the house to quickly retrieve my camera so that I could take picures of these beautiful pink mountains.
Before photographing the mountains though, I wanted to get pictures of the sunrise.
Looking east across pasture land in front of the house....................
After quickly snapping a series of pictures of an every changing sky, I heard a noise behind me.
When I turned I realized that Dixie, our neighbor ladys' horse, was walking towards us curious and friendly as ever.
Still in pajamas and not caring if any of the neighbors drove by and saw me in pajamas, I bent down to pick a handful of grass and weeds to give to this animal, who is gradually getting to know us better.
Trustingly and hungrily she pulled it out of my hand, chewed it and then eagerly looked for more.
I stroked the front of her face and then patted her and told her good morning before wandering away so that I could take more pictures of the pink mountains before the sun came out completely..................
By the time I gradually made my way back down the driveway and to the back of the house I was surprised to see that the pink was rapidly disappearing.
Carter Mountain was awash in increasing color and multiple shades of light and dark.
At the start of the day and at the end of the day, when the rising and setting suns change the appearance of the world moment by moment, I had to be fast.
On this morning I wasn't fast enough.
But it was a good way to quietly greet the day anyway...................

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Sunset Sky

Because of the many trees, coves, hills, valleys and "hollers" that there were in middle Tennessee it was often difficult to capture good pictures of the setting sun without traveling some distance.
Capturing beautiful pictures of beautiful sunsets is no challenge at all in Wyoming.
We rent a very small house a few miles outside of Cody that is surrounded by mountains and backs up to Bureau of Land Management public lands.
It is a quiet place.
A place where you do not hear sirens or constant traffic or trains blowing whistles as they barrell through town or neighborhood teenagers with their loud car radios thumping out obnoxious rap music.  It is a quiet place.
When I walk outside the house and step onto the front porch I can see Carter Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Rattlesnake Mountain and Heart Mountain.
Endless BLM land, many irrigated ranches, horses - many horses.
Often deer and antelope.
Often rabbits that Jamie loves to terrorize as much as she loved to terrorize squirrels in Tennessee.
And every night through the summer there are beautiful sunsets.
Sometimes they are ridiculously red.  Sometimes different shades of pink or orange or yellow or purple.  They all change color minute by minute until eventually the sun drops below Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains completely, and is gone for one more day.
The picture above was taken one day last week, on a day (like so many that we have seen since we arrived back in Wyoming) that had been very hot and dry, except for a very brief shower that lasted no more than two or three minutes and that blew violently over our path before disappearing across the BLM land behind us.
This picture was taken immediately after a short rain shower and contains a section of rainbow.
Black and grey clouds were following the path of the rain (which we had watched for 20 minutes as the narrow band of showers passed over the mountains, moved towards us, fell upon us, and then passed over us), and the sky was a combination of disappearing rain clouds, blue sky, puffy white clouds and the rainbow.
I took all of these pictures within the span of an hour.............
The old wagon that was on the property last year is still standing in the same spot, still beautiful and rustic and old, and still half full of old sun-bleached antlers and animal skulls................
We collected logs a few weeks ago from various ranch owners in the immediate area who were trying to clear out their pastures and around their house.
I have never really stacked wood before but have certainly had plenty of experience with it recently, all in preparation for a long winter ahead of us.
LC has used a chain saw and wood splitter to cut the wood into wood-stove sized logs, and I have scooped up kindling and stacked the wood.
We have cut and stacked quite a bit more since this picture was taken but we are almost done.
Which is a good thing because when I saw all the logs we had strewn all over the yard after dumping them out of our truck my heart just sank.
It looked like a whole lot of wood at the time, and it indeed was.................
The wagon and rainbow were facing towards the front of the house.
As I walked around the house with Jamie I looked up at the sky as I always do when we reached the back of he house and it was red.
There were portions of the rainbow still holding onto the red sky and as Jamie sniffed at the bushes and territorily continued to mark her stomping grounds I stood for a few moments, realizing that the sky all around me, in this late evening was very very beautiful...................
The house is placed at the very top of the road, and overlooks the valley below.
West towards Yellowstone Park is where the sun always sets each evening, and from our vantage point on the hill I watch every night as it eventually settles over Cedar and Rattlesnake and Heart.
The sky was still valiantly trying to clear, but through the dark clouds the sun shone brilliantly.
I snapped many pictures as the sky changed colors by the minute..............
I walked alone close to town one afternoon a few weeks ago.
Parking "up the hill" near a complex that contains the recreation center, the arena and the library, I walked down a set of steps, through a couple of quiet residential streets, and then eventually through town.
I took these pictures on the way back up to my truck as I climbed the long set of gravel and wooden steps.
Heart Mountain, as it does everywhere in Cody, dominated the landscape.................
At the top of the hill adjacent to the very large parking lot, there is a long portrait of the Cody landscape.
It describes some of the terrain in the area, and names the mountains that are visible from this vantage point.
There are benches to rest after the climb up the steps, and they are a nice place to just sit and look out over the entire city.
I sat there for a long time on this particular day.  Enjoying the quiet.  Enjoying the beautiful and serene landscape.  Enjoying the time I had alone.  In no hurry to climb back into my truck and head towards home...................
While LC ran errands one day last week Jamie and I wandered alone through the downtown city park.
Located across from city hall, this park is bordered in back and front by the high school and the now busy Sheridan Avenue.
The park contains a large green space, a children's park, a covered concert platform, and a mini golf area.
Next to the park is the Cody Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, and a very well used set of tennis courts.
The entire complex is beautiful, well landscaped, very user friendly and very welcoming.
It is a quiet oasis right now during the very busy tourist season of summer, and I enjoy walking and wandering with my sweet dog each and every time I come here.
Below is the Chamber and Visitor Center................
At the opposite end of the park is a large war memorial and a whimsical statue of Buffalo Bill Cody carrying a small child on his shoulders.................
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky...........Rabindranath Tagore